Incompatibility of the Digital Economy Act 2010 subscriber appeal process provisions with Article 6 of the ECHR

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Abstract

Through case-law research, this paper critically assesses the compatibility of the Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA) subscriber appeal process provisions (Section 13 of the DEA) with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Drawing on the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case-law, Ofcom's Initial Obligations Code (the Code), and the DEA judicial review decision, namely, BT PLC and Talk Talk PLC v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills and others, this paper focuses on the three Strasbourg Court principles of equality of arms, admissibility of evidence, and presumption of innocence, in an effort to determine whether Section 13 of the DEA infringes them, and whether this constitutes a breach of a subscriber's right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the ECHR. The paper examines these three ECtHR principles. It contrasts such principles with the Code's provisions, and considers the compatibility of Section 13 of the DEA with Article 6 of the ECHR. It concludes that the DEA subscriber appeal process provisions do indeed infringe these principles, thus constituting a violation of subscribers' right to a fair trial. It also recommends that the UK government start taking seriously human rights in general, and Article 6 of the ECHR in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-97
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Review of Law, Computers & Technology
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA)
  • Article 6 ECHR
  • right to a fair trial
  • file-sharing
  • copyright
  • subscriber appeals

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